Social Media Guidelines

In this American School Board Journal article, North Carolina district official Nora Carr shares this adaptation of the Social Media Guidelines Wiki:

Be careful about what you post. “Online behavior should reflect the same standards as those used for face-to-face communications. Deleted information may be stored and retrieved indefinitely, while information marked ‘private’ rarely is, and may be forwarded easily, even by someone you trust.”

Be aware of your official role. “Ensure that content reflects and is consistent with the work you do for your district. Once you identify yourself as a school or district employee, or former employee, you are automatically connected with colleagues nationwide.”

With students, stick to school business. “Don’t use e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, or social networking sites to discuss non-school-related issues with students. Homework, class activities, athletics, extracurricular activities, parent nights, choral concerts, and other school activities represent appropriate topics of discussion. Keep relationships with students professional at all times.”

Respect students’ and colleagues’ privacy. “Do not comment on students or confidential student matters on social networks; do not violate your co-workers’ privacy, either. Professionals have tough conversations face to face and in appropriate settings.”

Treat online content as an extension of your classroom. “If it’s not appropriate in the classroom or out in the open at school, it’s not appropriate online, either.”

Don’t allow others to post inappropriate material about you. “Search your name online and monitor what others are saying and posting about you. Even your friends and family can post and tag (i.e., identify you by name) photos you would never consider making public. If that happens, either ask the person to remove the offending photo or make it clear that you don’t support its publication.”

Don’t be anonymous. “Identify yourself as a school employee, and don’t post comments anonymously or try to hide your role. Fact-check information for accuracy before posting or sending it to another person.”

Be appropriate. “Share ideas in a respectful manner, and don’t slam others online. Share expertise and write in a conversational style that sounds as if you and another friend are chatting at the dinner table.”

“Facing Facebook” by Nora Carr in American School Board Journal, February 2011 (Vol. 198, #2, p. 38-39, 41), no e-link; Carr can be reached at ncarr@carolina.rr.com. The Social Media Guidelines Wiki is at http://socialmediaguidelines.pbworks.com.

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